Tips & Tricks

Ultimate Guide to Creating Your Wedding Guest List

Attacking the guest list could be one of the most hated tasks in wedding planning. Who do you invite? Who not to invite? Who gets to decide? I don’t want to offend anyone. So many questions!

Relax, we got you.

Here is the ultimate guide to creating your wedding guest list.

1. Begin by creating 3 separate lists together with your parents:

-who the bride wants to invite
-who the groom wants to invite
-who your parents want to invite

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2. Prioritize the list:

- A list: close friends and family that you couldn’t see your wedding happening without
- B list: additional friends, extended family, work colleagues that you would like to invite to your wedding
- C list: guests that you would like to invite but could see your wedding without (the first to cut for budget, guest count, or other restrictions).

*Note: Some Basic Guest List Constraints:

- Budget, Capacity at Venue(s) (including minimum and maximum guest counts)
- Preference in style and ambiance (this can override the first two constraints)

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3. Dealing with Regrets:

-Generally expect around 10% of your invited guests will decline.
-Make sure you know what the minimum and maximum guest counts are for your venue. If you receive regrets, deduct them from your list and see if you can fill their place if you’re down on your minimum guest count.
-Take into consideration guests with newborn or small children who may not be able to attend.
-Take into consideration the day of the week and time for your wedding may cause guests to decline due to work commitments and child care needs.
-Expect to receive responses via email, phone, card and text; regardless of the expressed method of RSVP.-Realistically out-of-town guests will have a higher refusal rate.

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4. Who to Invite:

Friends
-Start with your closest friends; then add friends you speak with regularly, friends from school/college and friends you would like to see at your wedding.
-Consider asking the question: Can you imagine having dinner with them within the next year? If yes, add them to the A list. If no (or you used to be close but not recently), add them to the B or C list, depending on your friendship.

Immediate Family
- Start with your parents, grandparents, their partners and their children; then add your aunts, uncles and cousins.

Distant Family
- Start with the family members you tend to keep in touch with and would like at your wedding; then add your other distant family members.
- General Rule of Thumb: either invite the whole bunch or none at all. This would mean inviting all of your second cousins, not just your favorite one. This may be different for the bride and the groom depending on how close their family is.

Coworkers
- The same rule as above generally applies. Either invite the whole department or no one. Unless you see a specific coworker outside of the office (besides the occasional lunch) then they are a friend.

Your Boss
- If you collaborate with them closely, if you’re throwing a large affair (as opposed to an intimate destination wedding), or if the corporate environment is one where it would reflect poorly on you for not inviting him or her, then add your boss to your list. If not, then it is not necessary to send an invite.

Plus Ones
- This is an issues for almost every couple in the wedding planning process. If a relative or friend is engaged, make sure to invite their fiancé, but what if they aren’t engaged? There are a few ways to draw the line. Some couples draw the line at significant others (long term or live in partners). Others ruthlessly decide no plus ones at all. Whatever you decide, make sure to apply it across the board to all guests. Make sure to decide on where to draw the line with guests’ boyfriends and girlfriends. Depending on what you decide to go with make sure to communicate honestly why someone can’t bring a guests or plus one.

Children
- It is acceptable (and now common) to not invite children to local, formal evening dinners (it may be more difficult for daytime, casual celebrations or destination events). Like plus ones, choose a rule and stick to it, like an age threshold or only immediate family.
- To make your guests aware, address the invitation envelopes with only invited guests. If you are not sure that your guests will get the hint, you can give them a call and a heads up.

If They Invited You
- Etiquette states if their wedding was recent and you are still close they should be on your guest list. If it was more than 5 years ago, you are no longer close or your wedding is smaller than theirs you can leave them off of your list.